When Ben Carson, the most trusted person in American politics, tells us that the pyramids of ancient Egypt were actually built by Joseph to store grain from the biblical seven years of plenty, I guess we have no choice but to believe him.
So much for the archaeologists and their silly theory that the pyramids were built as monuments and tombs for pharaohs. So much for the fact that while elaborate tombs have been found beneath the pyramids, there is no evidence of grain storage. And so much for the translated hieroglyphics attributing the pyramids to the pharaohs who built them, with no mention of anybody who might pass for the biblical character of Joseph.
Since Carson has proclaimed it, as recently as yesterday, then it must be true. Even though Politifact has looked at 17 other statements by Carson and concluded that just three were half-true and the rest were simply wrong, Politifact must be wrong.
It’s an interesting case study, though. The pyramid fantasy is yet another example of Carson venturing WAY outside his field of expertise and offering opinions with little basis in fact or logic. (And yes, that describes pretty much his entire political campaign). But because Dr. Ben says these things in such a calm, matter-of-fact manner, and because he isn’t wearing an actual tin-foil hat at the moment, well, maybe it’s true then!
Maybe it’s true that armed with a few handguns and hunting rifles, German Jews could have beaten back a Wehrmacht that it took the combined forces of the United States, the Soviet Union and Great Britain to defeat in battle. Maybe it’s true that vaccines are often unnecessary or are used to treat minor illness. Maybe!
As we’ll no doubt see as this latest incident plays out, Carson continues to be the beneficiary of greatly reduced expectations. The thinking seems to be that “He’s an outsider, a neurosurgeon, so of course we can’t expect him to be an expert on foreign policy, history, economics or Egyptology!” All of that’s true, I suppose, but I’m a traditional kind of guy. Carson’s not just somebody at the end of the bar spouting off nonsense, like Cliff the Mailman on “Cheers.” He’s running for president of the United States, and at the moment is the GOP frontrunner.
Is it too much to ask to have a president who actually has a working knowledge of the issues? Is it too much to expect the prospective leader of the free world to know where his or her own expertise ends, and to accept what the educated people in a particular field have to say? Is it too much to expect that he sounds sane?
Maybe it is.